Singing in the Time of Covid.

On March 16, when I made the decision to teach online only “out of an abundance of caution,” little did I know I’d continue to teach online with no end in sight. Yet here we are. The past several months have challenged me, frustrated me, filled me with joy and reminded me of the importance of music making. Making music lights up the entire brain, can lift our spirits and connects us to one another. It’s been a huge learning curve as we figure out Zoom connections, microphones, and recordings. I’m so happy to report that I have the greatest students; they’re resilient and engaged.


Busy, busy, busy!

It’s been a busy few months in the studio. Senior Emma Wolfe has just finished a great week in NYC with the Honors Performance Series, culminating in a choral performance in Carnegie Hall! Photos coming soon!

Three students, Shaurya Singh, Alexis Onstott, and Sriya Medarmetla performed in the Hal Leonard online Vocal Competition. You can see their videos here: It starts with Shaurya, then moves into Sriya’s videos and then Alexis’s.

Shea O’Connell’s performance of Maroon 5’s “Won’t Go Home Without You” from her talent show can be seen below:

Five students are participating in the Virginia Nats auditions March 2 at Shenandoah and last but not least, our long awaited recital is happening!!!

“This won’t be the craziest thing you’ll hear from me”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the way I speak to students. I don’t want to be so technical they don’t understand, nor do I want to rely solely on imagery that may or not make sense. In my own training I learned very little about anatomy. In fact it wasn’t until I spent a chunk of the summer of 2014 at the CCM Summer Institute at Shenandoah University that my eyes were opened! I now try to find a balance between science and imagery, but it’s often a bit tricky.

This post from The Naked Vocalist talks about the ways teacher talk to their students. I hope you’ll find it interesting!

Woohoo, September is here! So why is it still 90????

What a busy summer it’s been. We added 10 new students to the studio, which is a lot! It’s very exciting to see the growth, as it means more people are discovering the joy of singing. Currently, I’m exploring different curriculums to use with beginning singers. Change is hard, yet I feel like there are things i’m missing with my current teaching methods. So keep a good thought, please!

This is also the beginning of college audition season. Matt Edwards, Associate Professor of Voice and Artistic Director of the CCM Summer Institute, publishes a great blog called Mix it Up Monday. In this edition, he talks about prepping for the audition. It’s a great read!

Spring is Here, maybe?

What a great month this has been! While the weather has been completely unpredictable; one step into spring, back into winter, my students have been making great progress on their individuals goals.

I’m always excited when they’re cast in their school musicals, but this year it’s been a bumper crop! Seven of my middle school and high school students have been cast in their respective schools’ spring musicals. Congratulations, one and all!

Another high school student was one of only 8 girls in her district to be chosen for the VCDA’s (Virginia Choral Directors Association) All State choir, band and orchestra festival held in Richmond.

If I sound like a very proud teacher, well it’s because I am!


The Ides of March

February and March are always times of waiting to me. Anticipating spring, or Easter, or preparations for recitals, I don’t find these two months dreary. Well, some days ARE dreary, but I digress.

In the community of voice teachers, there are schools of thought about accepting students into private studios. Some teachers ‘audition’ students, while others like me, take on any and all challenges. I’ve wanted to write about that in a post, but yesterday, I found that Matthew Edwards, Associate Professor of Voice and Director of the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute at Shenandoah Conservatory had written everything I wanted to say.

Here’s the link, let me know what you thought about the article

Baby, it’s Cold Outside!

On Saturday January 13,  8 students and their friends and families braved the cold and enjoyed a wonderful recital at Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon. This recital was especially fun as the variety of songs performed was just fantastic! We heard everything from 18th century Italian opera to Leonard Cohen to Broadway. And everyone brought their A game. What a proud teacher moment!


It’s Turkey time!!!

November is here and we have had the most beautiful fall I can remember. My students are working on songs for competition, honing their skills, and trying new genres!

Moving out of your comfort zone is key to a singer’s progress. Introducing new kinds of music, including new rhythms and different melodies, strengthens the voice and also develops a student’s musicianship. For example, I had heard Charles Ives’ music, but never took the time to really explore it. When I did, I instantly fell in love. It’s challenging, to be sure, but there is a great sense of accomplishment that comes from successfully navigating his twists and turns.